Almost no one is surprised to experience a sudden onset of pimples as they go through puberty and adolescence: it’s almost like a rite of passage. But acne doesn’t always make a quiet exit after your teenage years. On the contrary, this frustrating skin condition can hang around throughout many phases of your adult life.
If you’ve ever looked in the mirror and wondered, why am I getting acne in my 30s, you’re not alone.
Learning about adult acne can help you prevent breakouts and treat those that do occur so that you can clear your skin and achieve a truly radiant complexion. After all, your 30s should be a time when you feel confident and in full control of your appearance. So, read on to discover everything you need to know about acne in your 30s.
Understanding Adult Acne in Your 30s
Adult acne is relatively common among people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. In technical terms, acne becomes “adult acne” when it occurs after age 25.1 But whether you’re 13 or 30, acne is a broad term that encompasses many different kinds of blemishes, such as:
- Cystic/nodular acne
So, why is it that different types of acne prevail well into adulthood?
Experiencing acne in your 30s is often tied to the chemical messengers of the body: the hormones. When you start to go through hormonal changes, acne breakouts become a common problem. Let’s dive deeper into how a hormonal imbalance can instigate unwanted adult acne.
The Role of Hormones in Adult Acne
Our bodies can be quite sensitive in response to hormonal fluctuations. Some people don’t experience acne until they reach adulthood and pass through periods of significant hormonal change or have a hormonal imbalance.2
Because of this, adult acne is more common among women than men—female bodies go through many hormonally tumultuous experiences like:
- Starting/stopping birth control
In addition, the estrogen levels in women’s bodies decrease with age while the prevalence of their male hormones simultaneously increases. This phenomenon can lead to thicker facial oil, larger pores, and, ultimately, more acne.3
Hormonal acne, no matter your age, is a skin condition that happens when fluctuations in hormone levels cause the sebaceous glands to go into overdrive. The substance they produce, sebum, is normally a natural lubricant for the skin. But when made in excess, it can quickly clog the pores and lead to pimple-prone skin.
In addition to this oil, the pores can become clogged by dead skin cells, dirt, and acne-causing bacteria. These elements are the perfect recipe for creating the swollen, inflamed, and often unsightly bumps we call acne.
The Role of Lifestyle Factors in Adult Acne
Many lifestyle factors can contribute to adult acne. While some, like genetics, are completely out of your control, it’s still helpful to understand how your environment influences your skin so you can find a proper treatment option.
The following elements are known to have a big impact on the formation of adult acne:
- Stress – When you get stressed out, your body produces hormones like cortisol, which can cause inflammation and trigger acne.3
- Genetics – Researchers believe that, unfortunately, parents may be responsible in some part for passing down acne-prone skin to their children.
- Diet – The food and beverages you consume impact your internal inflammation levels. Additionally, research suggests that dairy products and high-glycemic-index foods may be linked to acne.1
- Products – Using too many hair or skin products or applying ones that contain harsh or pore-clogging ingredients can damage your skin and congest your pores.
- Medication – If you ingest medicine containing hormones, corticosteroids, or lithium, you may inadvertently worsen your acne.4
It’s also important to avoid picking at or touching your skin too much, scrubbing your face aggressively, and wearing tight clothing that doesn't allow your skin room to breathe. These lifestyle habits can all cause your pimple problems to worsen.
Skincare Solutions for Adult Acne
If you’re struggling with adult acne, take the power back into your own hands and gain control over your complexion by implementing strategies that can help clear and smooth your skin, like:
- Utilizing specialized acne tests – Dive deeper into understanding your specific acne triggers with resources like the CLEARSTEM Functional Lab Testing. This test helps you figure out the real reasons behind your breakouts and gives you personalized advice to tackle them.
- Applying topical treatments – One of the most effective methods of combating acne is regularly using clinically proven products to reduce acne. Start by washing your face thoroughly but gently with a high-quality face cleanser. You can also use a gentle face exfoliator to remove excess dead skin cells. Then, follow up with soothing masks to heal your skin and restore its luminous glow.
- Choosing non-comedogenic and oil-free products – Products with these labels won’t clog your pores, meaning they won’t contribute to the formation of acne.
- Taking oral and natural supplements – Hormonal acne supplements can treat acne at the source by supporting the liver and helping to rebalance your hormone levels. If you're looking for an alternative to traditional supplements, MINDBODYSKIN® 2 offers a unique approach for individuals on SSRIs, antipsychotic medications, or mood stabilizers, making it an ideal choice among natural supplements for hormonal acne.
Thrive in Your 30s with CLEARSTEM Skincare Solutions
Your 30s are a time to thrive, and at CLEARSTEM, we believe that’s true for your skin, too! That’s why our experts have created an innovative line of science-backed oral and topical skincare solutions engineered to combat acne and aging at the same time.
Struggling with acne in your 30s is no reason to give up on having a clear complexion. Browse the CLEARSTEM collection to nourish your skin and banish unwanted adult acne for good.
- Harvard Health Publishing. Adult acne: Understanding underlying causes and banishing breakouts. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/adult-acne-understanding-underlying-causes-and-banishing-breakouts-2019092117816
- American Academy of Dermatology. Adult Acne. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne/really-acne/adult-acne
- John Hopkins Medicine. Got Adult Acne? Get Answers from an Expert. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/got-adult-acne-get-answers-from-an-expert
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Acne. https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/acne